Does Aquarium Salt Kill Snails? (Why It’s Bad)

aquarium salt snails

Aquarium owners all over the world use salt to treat various diseases in freshwater fish. The fish can handle it fairly well, but the microorganisms that cause diseases can’t.

However, fish are often not the only animal in a fish tank. Many fish tanks contain snails, shrimp, and other small non-fish aquatic creatures. So, will aquarium salt kill snails?

It depends on the amount of salt you use and the type of snail. Some snails will die when exposed to brackish water while others require saltwater in order to reproduce. But most types of snails will die when even a small amount of salt is added to a fish tank.

Why Do Aquarium Owners Use Salt in Aquariums?

Freshwater aquarium owners sometimes add salt their fish tank. It sounds weird, doesn’t salt kill freshwater fish?

Yes, adding salt to a freshwater fish tank will the fish, but only if you add a large amount of salt to the tank. If you use a small amount of salt, then you can use the salt as a tool to kill pathogens in the water.

Basically, salt will dehydrate fish, but fish store quite a lot of water, so they can handle the addition of a small amount of salt without too much negative impact.

Microorganisms, however, do not store a large amount of water in their body. Adding salt to their water will dehydrate them and cause them to die.

Their death will cause the diseases that they cause on your fish to disappear.

This makes the proper use of salt a very useful tool for any freshwater fish tank owner.

The next section will cover the impact that aquarium salt will have on

Will Aquarium Salt Kill Mystery Snails?

Mystery snails are probably the most popular type of snails that fish tank owners have as pets, so people often don’t want to kill mystery snails.

To answer the question, mystery snails usually die when exposed to even minimal amounts of salt. You can put a very small amount of salt in a tank with mystery snails, but it’s risky.

This does make aquarium salt a good tool to fight off a mystery snail infestation.

If you don’t want to kill your mystery snails, then you should not add salt to a tank that contains them.

Will Aquarium Salt Kill Nerite Snails?

Nerite snails are also a common pet snail in freshwater aquariums. They only reproduce in brackish water, so they won’t take over a freshwater fish tank like other types of snails.

This makes it perfectly ok to add aquarium salt to a fish tank containing nerite snails. Just keep in mind that they can reproduce if you add salt to the tank for an extended period of time.

Will Aquarium Salt Kill Ramshorn Snails?

Ramshorn snails are a problematic snail for freshwater fish tank owners because they reproduce rapidly and only require one snail to reproduce.

Unfortunately, they are a freshwater snail that can live in brackish water, so aquarium salt will not impact them too much. A few of them may die, but salt is not an effective method to remove them from a fish tank.

With ramshorn snails, you don’t have to worry about adding salt to your fish tank. The worst case scenario is that some of them die, which most fish tank owners are perfectly ok with happening.

Will Aquarium Salt Kill Pond Snails?

Finally, pond snails are by far the most annoying type of snail for tank owners. They will completely overrun a fish tank if left unchecked.

Fortunately, pond snails have almost no tolerance to salt as they are a freshwater snail. Don’t be surprised if you add salt to your tank and see a lot of dead pond snails a few hours later.

I consider this a win-win situation.

Quarantine Sick Fish in a Brackish Tank/Bucket

The best way, in my opinion, to add salt to your fish tank is to not add it your main fish tank. It’s ok in small doses, but a lot of owners add way too much salt and end up killing everything in their tank other than nerite snails.

Instead, I recommend adding a very small amount of aquarium salt to a bucket of fish tank water. You then plop the infected fish into that bucket of brackish water for 30 minutes or so and then put it in a bucket of freshwater for another hour before adding it back to the main tank.

That’s enough time to kill all the microorganisms on the fish. And putting it in a freshwater bucket will wash off some of the salt so the snails don’t die.

If you mess up and add too much salt to the bucket, then only one fish dies. You also won’t kill any of the algae, plants, or snails in your tank.

Closing Thoughts

To summarize, a small amount of aquarium salt will kill most types of snails. This can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on the type of snail and whether or not you like snails.

If you want to keep your snails alive when adding salt to your tank, then you should quarantine the infected fish in a separate brackish water tank or bucket.

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